Do-You-Really-Need-To-Pay-To-Reach-Fans-&-Non-Fans-On-FacebookAt one time getting into the News Feed of your Facebook fans was free. Page owners expected to have to pay to build the number of people who liked their page (fans), but getting into the News Feed of those fans was considered a given. Not so today, and really, not so for several years now!

Today, for the vast majority of businesses, if you want what you share on Facebook to be seen in the News Feed of those who have liked your Page and their friends, paying for Facebook isn’t an option. You’ll have to PAY Facebook to show what you share to those who have liked your Page and beyond.

The question is if you’re not prepared to spend money to show up in the News Feed of your Facebook fans and others, should you even be on Facebook? Probably not.

Internationally recognized Facebook expert, Mari Smith, say this about unpaid Facebook reach: Facebook organic (free) reach is down to a mere 1-6% of your fans. That is, for every 100 people on Facebook who like your business page, only 1 in 6 of them actually see your posts in their News Feed.”

So, if you’re sharing great content and no one is seeing it, why are you on Facebook?

Paying for Facebook is a new reality! Actually, it’s been the reality for a few years now.

And there’s a potential silver lining to paying for Facebook for many businesses. And that is that you can now pay to reach people who are not in any way connected with you or your business. In other words, paying for Facebook opens up new paid marketing opportunities for businesses.

Won’t Great Content Get Me Into The Facebook News Feed?

While there is still a lot of talk about great content being enough to get you in front of your fans, it’s not enough.

Don’t misunderstand me, great content is hugely important! But great content, for most businesses, doesn’t guarantee you’ll get into the News Feed of your existing fans. And it won’t get you into the News Feed of those who are not your fans either.

That said, if your fans are super interested in seeing anything and everything you put out, you could ask them to select to see your content first in their News Feed.

Facebook-Notification-&-Follow-LinksHow do those who have liked your Page choose to see what you share on Facebook first in their News Feed? Here’s how:

  1. Scroll over the ‘Following’ button beneath the cover image.
  2. Select to ‘See First’ in your News Feed

Doing this will ensure what you share on your Page shows up first in their News Feed. They can choose this option for up to 30 Pages.

Here’s the caution: If your fans find you post content to Facebook too frequently and/or if your content isn’t interesting to them, they may decide to deselect this option. If they do, it’s unlikely what you share will show up in their News Feed unless you boost your posts.

Getting fans to choose to see your content first is not as easy as it sounds. You have to work out the best way to let them know about these options and convince them they want to always see what you share on Facebook. A well worded and designed boosted (paid) post targeted to those who have liked your Page is one option. Including the information in an eNewsletter is another option.

Facebook’s Long-Term Strategy For Business

The drop in organic reach hasn’t happened overnight. It was part of Facebook’s long-term strategy:

  • Build a platform consumers love and use
  • Give businesses a free taste of how they can reach their audience on Facebook
  • Charge businesses to reach consumers on the Facebook social network

Their initial plan may not have looked quite like this. But rest assured, they didn’t build a worldwide empire so that they could give away all that exposure for free. They are not a charity.

Facebook knew that once businesses and other organizations with Pages had experienced a taste of the exposure Facebook could give them, they would need to be weaned off of free reach and onto paying for reach. That’s why Facebook reach for Pages has been declining slowly over the past 5+ years!

What Facebook has done to date is to build a huge consumer market for their product. Roughly 1.7 billion people worldwide!

They’re now leveraging the free service they provide to the average consumer, by monetizing the service they offer to Pages. In other words, to businesses and other organizations who want to reach the Facebook user base.

Paying For Facebook Reach

As mentioned, for the vast majority of businesses, our Facebook fan base is no longer reachable without an investment of cash.

All major social networks are looking for ways to monetize their services to business. They know if they build it – a social platform that consumers use en masse – businesses will come. They know businesses and other organizations want to reach the consumers using those social networks. And that businesses, eventually, will pay to do so.

Of course, social networks have to grow their user base to a place where we are willing to pay for reach. Facebook has done that! With their base of users worldwide slowly approaching 2 billion people.

The cost for most Pages with a local audience to reach a broader audience on Facebook is cheap in comparison to other types of advertising. On Facebook, a little goes a long way. (At least it does today.)

The price for Facebook advertising is quite likely to rise in the future, as more businesses begin to use Facebook creatively to reach their fans.

According to TechCrunch, roughly 5% of all active Facebook Pages pay to advertise on Facebook.  Boosting posts is also a form of advertising. Expect that to grow significantly over the next few years!

Changes To Advertising Guidelines Make It Easier

Facebook used to restrict the amount of text on images in their advertising. This made it difficult to create images with easy to read coupons, sales information, inspirational quotes or such that could pass Facebook’s old 20% or less text rule. So even if you had wanted to pay to boost that content, you couldn’t. Facebook wouldn’t allow it.

Not so today. While Facebook prefers images that have less text, there is more flexibility. They have a way for you to test to see how text on an ad image (including images used for boosted posts) could impact ithe ads reach.

For more on this check out my article ‘Facebook Boosted Posts: How Much Text Can You Use On Images?’ 

Promote Your Most Likeable Content

One thing to keep in mind when paying for reach on Facebook. If people don’t like what you are sharing they may shut you down. Facebook provides ways for them to indicate they don’t like or want to see any more of what you’re sharing.

Traditional advertising focused on you and your business, and not valuable, helpful and/or interesting to your fans, won’t cut it on Facebook.

Facebook is a different animal from a newspaper, magazine, billboard and flyer! A totally different animal. On Facebook it is all about the consumer and what they like, find interesting and want to see.

While you should be paying to boost some, and maybe all, of the content you share on Facebook, make sure it is what your target audience/your fans like/want to see.

Getting into the Facebook News Feed is important. But without content that is of interest to or appeals to your target audience, you’ll be wasting your money.

This article has been updated significantly.  (To view the original article on SocialMediaToday click here.)